For many years, mainly due to imperfect law, establishing business activity in Poland was an ordeal. Today, procedures still leave a lot to be desired, but the situation has been improving. According to the World Bank, in the years 2011–2012 no other country in the world has made bigger progress in terms of making business activity easier (Doing Business Report, for more info go to www.worldbank.com).
One of the most important changes introduced over the past years has been launching online Central Registration and Information on Economic Activity (Polish: Centralna Ewidencja i Informacja o Działalności Gospodarczej – CEIDG) on www.firma.gov.pl. Information on all businesses registered at town and municipal offices across Poland is sent to this unit. At present, it is CEIDG who is responsible for registering business activity pursued by individuals. A registration application sent to CEIDG is at the same time an application for issuing a REGON statistical number, and it replaces an application sent to a taxation office (which issues NIP taxpayer identification number) and a registration application to the Social Insurance Institution. A registration application to CEIDG can be filed online at www.firma.gov.pl. It is also possible to fill in the application online, and next go to the nearest town or municipal office in order to verify the identity of the applicant.
An instruction video on how to establish a company can be viewed on YouTube.
The procedure for establishing partnerships or corporations is different. You will register such a company in the National Court Register (Polish: Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy) or on the website of the Ministry of Justice, where you can find a tab “Register a limited liability company in 24h”. That's right, it is possible to establish a company in Poland in just one day!
People taking up business activity can benefit from special privileges, such as paying lower work social insurance contributions for 24 months from starting the operations. A standard monthly social insurance contribution reaches PLN 710.67 (approx. EUR 173 at the exchange rate of EUR 1 = PLN 4.1), and you are also obliged to pay health insurance (PLN 261.73 per month – approx. EUR 63.00) and a labour fund contribution (PLN 54.58 – approx. EUR 13). Detailed information on social insurance contributions can be found on the website of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
When you establish your business, you need to identify its scope of operations. For this purpose you need to select relevant codes forming Polish Classification of Economic Activities (Polska Klasyfikacja Działalności PKD 2007), which can be found on Central Statistical Office’s website. You can also use a search engine on EU-GO online point of contact for this purpose. The website www.eu-go.gov.pl is an excellent source of information on running business activity in Poland.
Industrial and trade chambers, to mention British-Polish Business Network, German Chamber of Commerce and its French counterpart and embassies operating in Poland provide support to foreigners wanting to start up businesses in our country.